Readers' Letters: Sturgeon throwing stones from glass houses​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

If the ineptitude and carefree attitude of this SNP Government to the public finances was not so very serious it might be laughable.

However it is contemptible. We have a First Minister describing UK Government economic policy as “morally repugnant” and Deputy First Minister John Swinney saying he is “very concerned”.

These comments declared in a week in which the Scottish Government’s former Finance Secretary John Swinney, was unable to quantify the financial commitments made by the SNP administration to the GFG Alliance run by Sanjeev Gupta covering the Lochaber smelter. The auditors resigned concerned about the lack of available information and a potential Serious Fraud Office investigation. Further, we are now advised that the Ferguson Marine ferries for CalMac are delayed again with a further increase in costs, meaning the final cost at around £300 million will be three times greater than originally budgeted.

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The First Minister and her Finance Secretary should not throw stones from their glass houses and their hypocrisy is staggering as well as hugely insulting to the people of Scotland. Indeed, one might refer to it as “morally repugnant”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney have criticised the Truss/Kwarteng financial shake-up (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
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Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Infinite crisis

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The jaw dropping events of the last few days surprised even myself in the depth and speed of their incompetence. Liz Truss spent many weeks during the summer touring the country and performing to the tiny group of Tory faithful, emphasising how “tough” she is and how she will take “unpopular” decisions to “get the economy moving”. An economy presumably brought low by the government of the previous 12 years that she was a part of and whose every economic measure she voted for. And now that she has painted herself into a corner and feels the pressure to put those suicidal “promises” in place, it’s become a stand-off as to whether she loses face with her ever-dwindling band of supporters or she lets the country continue to disappear down the economic plughole.

It seems the warnings of the IMF, the Bank Of England, former BoE governor Mark Carney, the majority of even right-leaning newspapers, every respected economist in the western world and, significantly, many Tory MPs and advisers is clearly not enough to deflect Truss and her friend and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng from their hell-bent desire to trash the UK economy, reward the wealthiest in society and make life for ordinary people even more unbearable over the next few years for purely personal and ideological reasons.This crisis is not about political and economic competence, it’s about Liz Truss’s credibility and nothing else. Her face-saving is clearly much more important than the country’s economy as she seems to believe that she and Kwasi know more than the most respected economic experts in the UK and beyond.How long can this corrupt and utterly clueless government be allowed to continue?

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D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Stats life

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We all know there are lies, damned lies and statistics. To that we can add “there are SNP government statistics”. True, the Sturgeon regime has closed down statistics about education achievement in Scotland, creating what Professor Lindsay Paterson has called a “data desert”. It is, though, tougher to abolish statistics about medical waiting times and treatment. The figures are so dire – especially for orthopaedic procedures where, in June 2022, 42,372 people were on the waiting list – that the SNP regime has revamped its NHS website to record lower waiting times than are actually the case.

I wonder how many hip and knee operations the £300 million (and rising) wasted on the two Calmac ferries would pay for? Certainly, saving £200m on the initial agreed cost of £97m could have saved a lot of people a lot of pain.

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Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Charge for A&E

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“Scots A&E over capacity for entire month” says the response to an FOI request. The government's target is for 95 per cent of people to be seen within four hours, but in one week in September only 63.5 per cent actually achieved the target.

The key is in the title, it is Accident and Emergency, not “I cannot see a doctor this week so I came to A&E”. In a recent survey in a local hospital on a Saturday afternoon, there were 58 people in the A&E waiting room, but of these only three qualified as accident or emergency cases.

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A patient seen by a doctor in A&E takes much longer than one being seen by a doctor in a health centre, because bloods must be taken and all symptoms checked. The answer is to charge £5 to see a doctor in A&E, then the queues would vanish.

“Oh no, we can't do that, we would lose the referendum.”

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James Macintyre, Linlithgow, West Lothian

FMQs charade

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Yesterday I watched the First Minister Questions charade at Holyrood. For how much longer are we to put up with the evasions, absence of planning, and pass-the-buck attitude and responses from Nicola Sturgeon?

She constantly mentions that “lessons must be learned” as a response to any criticism at all of the failures of her governing party, but they never are learned, and criticism is always deflected by references to England and UK Government policy.

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If she and her Ministers could, for once, start working more closely with the relevant departments of the UK Government, and cease hiding from valid criticism of SNP policy and actions, then we might begin to see a properly resurgent Scotland, instead of the vague “jam tomorrow” promises from an independence obsession that deliberately fails to disclose details.

The SNP and its entourage at Holyrood has become a waste of space and taxpayer money

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Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

No blame

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During the present political and financial turmoil, it must be desperately frustrating for Conservative, LibDems and Labour MSPs to be unable to find a way of blaming it all on Nicola Sturgeon.

Peter M Dryburgh, Edinburgh

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That’s rich

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Nicola Sturgeon was banging her drum recently about the Tory budget making the rich richer. This from our First Minister who jets off around Europe at the drop of a hat to open expensive and useless embassies. Who jets off to America to be pictured at the Tartan Day parade in New York. Who is driven around all over Scotland in a limousine. And who lives in a luxury mansion in an affluent part of Edinburgh. All of the above comes at the taxpayers’ expense. I would call that the equivalent of being rich.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

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Bad company

Sir Keir Starmer promises to set up a UK wide state-owned energy company to make sure that Westminster can steal Scottish energy as it wishes. This will allow his party to support failing UK businesses and keep Scots paying more than they need. Were we Independent, we would pay less for our energy because Scotland can produce enough for its own needs.

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Were you a Scot, struggling to pay your energy bill, would you vote for a Labour parliamentary candidate over one standing for a Scottish Government free to increase and keep our own energy supplies, so the less well off in Scotland can stay warm and well fed this winter? No chance!

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

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Do something

I had been joking recently with friends along the lines, “I wonder how long it will take them to want Boris back?”, and up pops Mark Boyle in Scotsman Letters yesterday to say just that (29 September).

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According to Mr Boyle, Boris was on the whole, just fine. I would remind him that it wasn’t quite like that. In fact, he was atrocious – so idle, lying and incompetent that his senior colleagues, despite the risk to themselves, threw him under the bus. You could take party loyalty pretty far, but supporting Boris was a journey they could no longer make. So we hope party loyalty will not be the excuse for not noticing that Ms Truss is even worse. She cannot sack Kwasi Kwarteng, since he is merely singing her tune. Parliamentary colleagues would take too long to remove her. Someone think of something.

Crawford Mackie, Edinburgh

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End this union

The UK Government’s obsession with privatisation and the market has created the economic meltdown that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions and has made Britain relatively poor and far more unequal when compared to the rest of Europe.

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Government claims that the private sector delivers more value than the public are false. You need only look at public sector jobs like nurses, doctors, teachers, health and safety workers and rubbish collectors, all high value jobs that provide services people want, need and depend upon. But the UK government is systematically destroying the public sector despite the fact that people want more of the services these jobs provide.

So far, Scotland has maintained a healthier public sector than England. Instead of the disastrous NHS “Internal Market” in England, in 2004 Scotland reestablished integrated health boards that involve the public in the planning, development and operation of health services. Scotland also has a national A&E system, which outperforms England’s. The UK Government is hellbent on selling off what remains of the public sector, completing the asset-stripping job it started in the 1980s under Thatcher.

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Scotland is the last colony left for the Tories to asset-strip in their frantic efforts to prop up the rotting edifice of the British state. That’s why we must end this union – now.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

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